Powerful polyphonic singing at Gigisha’s ceramic exhibit

Five powerful voices filled the exhibition space with different harmonies at Gigisha Pachkoria’s ceramic exhibit on Chardin Street; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

Gigisha Pachkoria served wine in his wine vessels at his ceramics exhibit; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

Gigisha will have an exhibit Friday, June 8, 6-8pm, at Baia Gallery, Chardin St. 10

Gigisha Pachkoria, ceramicist, Clay Office; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

Clay Office prepares for Christmas

Nato Eristavi. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Thank you Susanna Melo, my better half, for writing another blog post.

Christmas is nearing, but here in Georgia this special occasion is not just celebrated on December 25th, according to the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Orthodox Christians keep to tradition by following the Julian calendar (used in ancient Rome), so Georgians celebrate Christmas on January 7th, too!

The Clay Office ceramicists, like Santa’s elves, have worked diligently day and night for weeks to create ceramic wares, sculptures, ornaments, and keepsakes for the gift-giving spirit of this time of year. Lali Kutateladze placed floating angels adorned in gold to the side of cleverly painted small bowls; Lia Bragationi created practical, block-shaped candle holders of all sizes and designs; Malkhaz Shvelidze (Kopi) made slim, statuesque angels with interesting facial expressions and golden wings. Gigisha Pachkoria had fun making the tiniest Santa Clauses with curly mustaches, not unlike his own. These jolly Santas were actual containers in which their future owners could hide a small treasure.

Georgians also have two New Year’s celebrations: January 1st, according to the Gregorian calendar, and January 14th according to the Julian calendar. Ceramicist Nato Eristavi seized the opportunity of the 2012 Chinese New Year of the Dragon to make intriguing, swirling, and stylistic white glazed dragons on stands painted with black, oriental-looking designs.

Keith and I purchased a couple of small angels to remind us of these hard-working, creative Georgian artists when we celebrate Christmas back in the U.S. next year.

Malkhaz Shvelidze (Kopi). Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Lali Kutateladze. Copyright Susanna Melo, 2011

Lia Bragationi and Gigisha Pachkoria. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Home away from home

Malkhaz Shvelidze (Kopi)

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

This is another post from Susanna Melo. Both of the small photos of sculptures are her works in progress.

“The Clay Office,” official name for the studio where a group of professional Georgian ceramicists and professors of the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts work, has become my home away from home.  This is where I go each afternoon to learn yet another trick on how to work with red Georgian clay.  Believe me, it is not easy.

According to my instructor, Malkhaz Shvelidze, more commonly known as Kopi, when I get back to the U.S., I will be able to buy different types of clay for different purposes.  For example, sculpture clay for small items. In the meantime, I am learning to make do with what is available here. So have these artists who, like magicians, have created amazing sculptures with limited resources. Sometimes, special clay and glazes are imported from abroad, like the real gold Russian glaze that I used recently to enhance my gold fish.

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

If you like art, you will definitely want to follow the link to The Clay Office’s site: http://www.clayoffice.ge/. It is in the process of being updated, but you can see the intricate and forceful works of these artists. Each has his/her own style and all have taught abroad. For example, Gigisha Pachkoria likes to make wine vessels and teapots. Kopi (my instructor) makes structures that begin as boxes, but end up resembling mausoleums that are made up of several pieces which all fit together like a toy puzzle. Nato Eristavi recently had an exhibit in a brick factory and her unusual pieces captured small brick workers in brick-themed sculptures. Lia Bagrationi is in the process of creating an interactive exhibit using the brain as the primary source for her art, and Lali Kutateladze is yet another creative, free spirit who mostly uses the human figure and animals in her art. I cannot say that one is better than the other, but I can say that all of them have influenced my life through their art and friendship.

Nato Eristavi

Our (first) piece of art

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

We went to the opening of an exhibition called “Feast,” by Gigisha Pachkoria. He displayed his wine ceramic vessels in the wine cellar of Tbilisi Marriott Hotel, so Gigisha also provided wine to visitors. We bought the gray vessel under his right hand and at this moment he is offering the other piece as a gift.

Susanna begins her ceramics classes at Gigisha’s studio next week.